St. Joseph, Ridgway


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1840s: German and French settlers arrived. Thomas S. Ridgway, president of the Springfield and Illinois Southeastern Reilroad (later part of the B&O) named the town in honor of himself. It was nicknamed "Stumpville" because of the number of trees that had to be cleared to make way for the railroad.

1870: Father Anton Demming of Shawneetown said the first Mass in a private home.

1879: Father James A. Rensmann, the first pastor, moved to Ridgway.

1885: Precious Blood sisters began teaching school.

1894: A new German gothic church was built.

2012: St. Joseph Church destroyed by the Leap Day Tornado. The Parish has become part of the new St. Kateri Parish and the site awaits construction of a new parish church.

*This brief history is taken from A Time of Favor: The Story of the Catholic Family of Southern Illinois by Betty Burnett.